Apr 29, 2009

FML instead of tears

a little post in similar fashion to the bandwagon FML movement...

i cry when i get frustrated. when i was in the 5th grade and just learning to play the trumpet, trying to hit the high 'c' note was brutally challenging. i would practice and practice and yet i  could not reach that bloody note; so i'd cry. from 8th to 11th grade math was horribly difficult for my artistically created mind. no matter the amount of tutoring i received i was completely unable to comprehend the absurdity of 'x' and 'y' and all those stupid theorems; which triggered my green eyes to produce a brilliant display of waterworks. i can't sleep on planes. when i flew to malaysia several years ago with a group of people for a 10 day mission trip in kuala lumpur my tired eyes and weary body would not allow me to enter into a much needed slumber. the boy i was traveling with was sitting next to me and he was fast asleep. i wanted to be him so badly. actually i wanted him to wake up and recognize how miserable i was and console my frustrated exhaustion. instead i entered into a wicked fight against my tears. it was me vs. them and i used every crafty punch i could think of to keep them from pouring forth victoriously. FML.

since the first grade i have been running. i love everything about running. unfortunately, my body does not react to the sport the same way my heart does. for years i've battled with shin splints. four years ago i ran a half marathon as a part of my full marathon training but i demolished my knee so i was never able run the full 26.2 mile race. a couple years later i ran the twin cities full marathon and after that i was out for months due to another knee injury. now here i am training for my second full marathon and wrestling with the frustrations of yet a third knee injury. FML. knowing that i cry out of frustration i want to refrain from doing so this time around, so in effort to keep the corners of my eyes nice and dry, i write this seemingly insignificant blog post.

in the beginning of this training i was out for two full weeks because of achilles tendonitis. that was probably one of the most painful wounds i've ever endured in all my years of running. miraculously however, god fully healed the damage. it was foolish to think that my body woudl surrender to my stubbornness and let me get away with abusing it day in and day out because  now my knee is rattling and crying out in anguish. sometimes i think that god uses my body to teach me valuable lessons... oy, FML.

it is tempting for me to draw a sense of worth from my joy in running. i have to be uncomfortably transparent for a moment and let you, my readers, know that there is a large portion of my ego that bubbles over when i tell people i am running a marathon. to put it bluntly i feel pretty freaking bad ass when people ask, "wait, how many miles is a marathon?" to where i fan my peacock feathers and reply proudly, "26.2". lord have mercy. i think that god is trying to teach me to find my value in him and him alone. actually i don't think that, i know that. the fact of the matter is i am not a runner. that is not who i am. it is only a passion, a joy, a source of rest in my life as a disciple of christ. 

i even had a dream last night regarding my dangeous stubbornness. in my dream i visited the doctor to ask about my knee. when i told the doctor what the problem was, she stared me straight in the eye and said, "stop running now. you cannot run any longer or you will completely ruin your knees. stop." my response to her was a very childish, "no." seriously, a dream??? FML. i thought that i learned this lesson of proper placing of self worth years ago. i'm pretty sure i did. true there are moments when i can puff my overcoat of arrogance, but for the most part i am incredibly intentional about submitting before the lord and laying my running on the alter of sacrifice. i guess there is more work to be done. one thing i have learned over the years is that god likes to go deep. he does not stop winnowing until he reaches  the foundation of our souls and when he finally is able to touch the deepest parts of our hearts, he begins to mold us and shape us and transform us. i'm not going to cry this time, maybe one of these days i will lay waste my stubborn tendencies and learn. 

Apr 28, 2009


i am a wavering pray'er. the fashion of these inconsistencies has less to do with the discipline of prayer time, but rather to the trust that is involved with each interceding encounter. it's like this; i know god hears the cries of my heart but i don't actually believe - i mean deeply believe in every single fiber of my being, that he is going to answer my prayers. 

this past weekend i was in minnesota celebrating in the beautiful uniting marriage ceremony of one of my dearest friends. there were many events that occured over the course of 4 days that i am continuing to process through. what i am presently turning over in my mind is the radiance of god's grace that illuminated the finite trust i have in him. each experience from this past weekend drew me to the cross and there i was greeted face to face with who god is. 

god is a god of redemption and i embraced sweet redemption this weekend. god is a god of restoration and i gazed upon the spledor of this jewel of truth. god is a god of grace and for 4 days i dined at the table of isaiah 61 with bountiful portions of beauty and oils of gladness. god is a god of faithfulness and this weekend i witnessed god's faithful character through countless means. the marriage ceremony of my friend, a girls night with some of my closest sisters, a transformation that is taking place in the marriage of my older sister beth and her husband, an awkward and amazing conversation with a brother, and the sharing of a stogie and some laughs with 3 very valuable people in my life. these are the facets that god chose to reveal himself through and as he did, the scales from my eyes fell away and i saw the fruits to years of prayers and petitions.

Apr 14, 2009

annonymous gift

for over a year now i have been meeting with one of the pastors here at my church to work through my deep fear of finances. it has been a remarkable journey filled with intoxicating enlightenments, illuminating hope, and challenges so crippling i can hardly manage to choke them down. but this counseling has been without question one of the greatest sources of maturity and growth in my life that i am forever indebted to.

during the last conversation we shared, my pastor/counselor informed me that i am a tensionist. it was clear that he could read the gaudy display of confusion that was written all over my face because with all the patience in the world, he pulled out a small dry erase board and began drawing for me a diagram that better explained what it means to be a tensionist. when it comes to certain areas of life i am either all or nothing. i had to laugh when he pointed this out to me for my thoughts immediately went to a time when my mom tagged this exact characteristic on me. it was about 4 years ago and i was preparing to leave on a missions trip to malaysia. she was, as most mothers would be, fearful to watch me take off. so she hugged me goodbye and turned to the man i was going with and as she hugged him she said something like, "keep an eye out for her, she likes to dive off the deep end." to where the man i was traveling with so wittingly responded, "i'll hold her back by her pig tails". they both knew of my tensionistic tendencies long before i even realized them myself.

holding now a slightly deeper understanding to the quirky ways in which i operate i have grown to pause and stare face to face at the voices of each end of the spectrum that scream and demand my attention. these voices burst their way to the forefront of my attention and immediately begin smothering every ounce of rationality. prior to learning that about the level of extremes i would give in to these voices and take matters into my own hands in desperate attempt for control. but now, now something gracious has shifted in the way i respond to the tempting songs of the false self and this alternative perspective is far more beautiful than the previously donned default of fear.

i think the sermon on the mount is one of the most beautiful teachings ever told. god has held me in matthew 6 for weeks and weeks. with each passing day he unfolds just a little more of the radiance that is contained within this passage. when god speaks, things come into existence. in this simultaneously humbling and incomprehensible scripture jesus says:

"therefore i tell you..."

now, when  jesus says "i tell you" you can be certain that he will do what he says. so with that not quite fully grasped understanding i continue reading;

"do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. is not life more important that food and the body more important than clothes? look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly father feeds them. are you now much more valuable than they? who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life."

so much of my life has been spent worrying and stressing, literally losing hair and finding new zits on my face that seem to unearth themselves just to say, "ha ha! sucka! stress out enough yet?" but when i read this sermon that jesus gave i am invited to rest. i am beckoned to trust his provision rather than my own aimless stabs at it. and i am allured into giving him the control ropes to my life so that i can ease up on the choking bit of fear that strangles me.

today i received a gift, a gesture of love. it was an anonymous gift that someone had given to our junior high director to pass along to me that produced total curiosity and unnerving gratitude within. the offering extended to me was a white envelope that had my name written on the front of it. i waited until everyone had left the office before i opened the envelope and what i found inside was a simple yellow post-it note that had the words "jesus loves you. never forget it." scribbled in black permanent marker. underneath the note was a bountiful financial gift. i wept... and remembered... 

"therefore i tell you, do not worry about your life."

Apr 10, 2009

this year's holy week i've been praying that god would tenderize my heart in order to tangibly feel the emotions that were bore during these 7 days some 2000 years ago. a rather outlandish prayer i am aware, but i mourn over the fact that easter becomes just another liturgical highlighted date that passes by without an intentionality of worship, awe, grief, and celebration.

there is an artist who has assisted in the ushering in of the emotional experiences for this week. (this is not to say that the only way to meditate over the weight of holy week is with music, but along with the movement of the holy spirit, lyrics aid in the guiding of my focus). sharing music is as gorgeous as sharing a good read - thus i think everyone ought to spend some time listening to this singer/songwriter. he has incredibly poetic, colorful, and raw lyricism that draws you into a spirit of reflection. check him out: john mark mcmillian

Apr 2, 2009

ceasing to become an emotionless robot

sometimes i think that i don't feel things like i should. which is strange for me to say seeing as i'm a fierce feeling/sensing woman. perhaps this lack of tangibility in emotions is due to the over-powering numbness of our society. by and large we are a collection of well oil robots mechanically going to and fro with our boundless daily tasks, all in vein effort to draw forth any sense of self worth. this pace of living (or dying?) leaves us with souls that reflect the grey bitterness of early winter, when the radiance of autumn as fled and all that exists are the few remaining gasps of air before the dead of the season storms in.

i am noticing the power that music has on me. with but a few strums of a 6-string or the releasing melodies from the ivories the state of my heart or mind can radically shift. one minute i can be standing in full confidence and bubbling contentment, but if a song that carries with it memories of a love lost travels its way to my listening ears, then i am burned into ashes of introspective achings. quite the opposite is true as well. if i am already buried by the blankets of the dark night all it takes is a little marley or j. johnson to medicate my despair.

if i am going to be totally honest i must expose that there are many occasions where i will play music just so i can feel something, anything. somewhere deep inside there is this fear that i am becoming just as programmed as those around me. in effort to assure myself that the emotions of life are not completely lost, i will insert a disc and allow the somberness of ray lamontagne or david gray to carry my senses wherever he wills. over and over the song will repeat, until the lyrics impregnate my longing to believe that i am a woman of vibrant sensitivity.